From thrills to chills and your fill of natural beauty, Florida is the place to be. And in 2022, 137.6 million tourists agreed, surpassing even the bustling New York City's 56 million visitors. From the lively cityscape of Miami to the enchanting world of Orlando's theme parks, or the tranquil beaches of Key West to the cultural gems of Sarasota, Florida offers a plethora of options to suit every traveller's taste.
To help you plan your dream escape, we've compiled a guide to the best times to visit each of these remarkable destinations throughout the year. After all, deciding when and where to go on holiday during a cost-of-living crisis can be difficult. Thankfully, we know how you can save more money and maximise your travel dreams in the Sunshine State for years to come...
Orlando - January to February
Starting with the mecca for family holidays, Orlando
delights all who visit this theme park playground. With world-class attractions like Walt Disney World
, Universal Orlando
, and SeaWorld Orlando
, this city captivates thrill-seekers from around the globe, inviting them to discover the magic of the world’s theme park capital.
Timing is key when planning your trip to Orlando, and the sweet spot lies between mid-January and February. During this period, the crowds subside, creating a more relaxed atmosphere to fully enjoy the city's celebrated parks. Plus, it is of course cheaper to travel outside of summer and the holiday seasons. Another bonus is the pleasantly mild weather, allowing you to explore the parks and indulge in outdoor activities without the scorching heat or afternoon showers that dominate the peak summer months.
Yet Orlando has so much more to offer beyond its rollercoaster playground. You can immerse yourself in downtown Orlando's vibrant dining and nightlife scenes, where an exciting range of restaurants craft culinary delights that will tantalise your taste buds. And when it comes to shopping, treat yourself at upscale malls and outlets, where you'll discover a treasure trove of designer brands and unique local finds.
And let's not forget the golf enthusiasts. Orlando boasts an impressive selection of pristine golf courses that cater to players of all skill levels, offering challenges and delights at every swing.
Miami - December to May
The Magic City is Florida's second-most visited destination and a melting pot of Latin rhythms, Cuban Cuisine and Spanish eccentricity. In other words, Miami
has it all, from stunning golden beaches to a bustling nightlife scene and a rich cultural tapestry that promises something for everyone.
To bask in a balmy sun-soaked escape, the best time to visit Miami is between December and May. During these months, you'll enjoy mild and pleasant weather, with average temperatures ranging from 24 to 28°C. It's the perfect opportunity to partake in outdoor activities such as lounging on the beach, engaging in beach volleyball matches, and taking refreshing dips in the Atlantic waters.
For those sun seekers visiting between February and March, you're in for an added treat. Florida's party city plays host to Ultra Music Festival Miami, where renowned DJs take the stage and unleash chart-topping tunes upon a pulsating sea of enthusiastic clubbers.
If you miss Miami's thrilling music show, there is plenty to do in this beautiful beach city. Join the effervescent energy of South Beach, where you'll discover miles of pristine sandy shores, lively bars, and upscale restaurants. From sunrise to the early hours of the morning, this area pulsates with an irresistible party atmosphere. While there, don't miss the chance to explore Miami's iconic Art Deco district, characterised by its pastel-coloured buildings, dazzling neon lights, and distinctive architectural style.
And for those seeking an active holiday, Miami offers an array of outdoor activities. Dive into thrilling water sports like paddleboarding, kayaking, and surfing along the coast. Experience the magic of a sunset sailboat ride on the sparkling waters of Biscayne Bay, or test your skills with deep-sea fishing in the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.
Key West - December to May
Heading down south is the beloved tropical oasis of Key West
that radiates sun-drenched shores, laid-back vibes, and unforgettable experiences. From its pristine waters to its vibrant culture and breathtaking sunsets, Key West enchants visitors all year round.
The ideal time to visit Key West is from December to May when the weather is mild and the island experiences lower humidity. During these months, you can soak up the glorious sunshine and enjoy temperatures ranging from 25 to 30°C.
Immerse yourself in the island's outdoor wonders and explore the enchanting underwater world by snorkelling or diving in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, home to diverse marine life and stunning coral formations. While for adventurous souls, Key West offers activities such as fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Embark on a sunset cruise or set sail to the remote paradise of Dry Tortugas National Park, accessible only by boat or seaplane.
Once you're back on land, take the time to explore the charming Old Town. Stroll down the jubilant Duval Street, lined with an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and lively bars. And no visit to Key West would be complete without experiencing the world-famous sunset celebration at Mallory Square. Join the vibrant gathering of locals and visitors as they revel in the breathtaking spectacle of the setting sun. Enjoy the company of street performers, artists, and live music, adding an extra layer of magic to this unforgettable moment.
Those visiting in late April will be lucky to experience the Conch Republic Independence Celebration, an extraordinary event that pays homage to the unique history and rich culture of this tropical paradise. The celebration spans a week and features a range of exciting activities, including a reenactment of the Great Sea Battle, where local islands fought against the US Coast Guard, and a thrilling Conch Republic Drag Race down Duval Street. Attendees can enjoy live music, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and witness breathtaking sunsets, all while immersing themselves in the island's infectious rhythms and laid-back atmosphere.
Tampa - February to May
Another high-flying Florida destination, Tampa
offers a mix of theme parks to rival Orlando, cultural attractions, beautiful waterfront areas, and family-friendly entertainment options. In fact, Tampa is a city that guarantees excitement all year round. But to enjoy comfortably warm weather and explore this beautiful riverside city without the crowds, the best time to visit Tampa is from February to May. During this pleasantly warm season, discover all that Tampa has to offer. Embark on an adventure at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
, a world-renowned theme park offering exhilarating rides with an exotic wildlife twist. Or, cool down at Adventure Island
, a seasonal water park with an exciting array of water slides, a wave pool for ultimate splashes, and a half-mile languid lazy river.
You can also dive into the wonders of marine life at The Florida Aquarium, where stunning exhibits showcase diverse aquatic creatures, and you can even embark on a memorable dolphin cruise. Then take a leisurely stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk, a scenic waterfront path that leads you to charming parks, trendy restaurants, and the fascinating Tampa Bay History Center, where the city's past comes to life.
And if you find yourself in Tampa in late January, prepare to be swept up in the thrilling spectacle of the Gasparilla Festival. This annual event pays homage to the legendary pirate invasion led by the mythical figure, José Gaspar, in the early 1900s. Brace yourself for the arrival of a majestic pirate ship sailing into Tampa Bay, accompanied by a flotilla of boats and a boisterous pirate crew. The excitement continues with vibrant floats, lively marching bands, and costumed pirates entertaining the cheering crowds along the streets of downtown.
Clearwater - March to May
Just a short 22-mile journey from Tampa, you'll find the awe-inspiring shores of Clearwater
, an acclaimed destination that consistently secures its spot among the USA's top beaches with its pristine powder-white sands and inviting azure waters. Effortlessly blending natural beauty with an abundance of excellent restaurants, Clearwater is a true gem waiting to be discovered on Florida's enchanting Gulf Coast.
The best time to visit Clearwater is from March to May. During these months, you can witness wildlife such as migratory birds, stingrays and sea turtles. What's more, you can enjoy pleasant temperatures and plenty of sunshine, perfect for outdoor activities such as swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. While exploring the crystal seas, keep an eye out for resident dolphins playfully swimming in the ocean. You can embark on a dolphin-watching cruise to witness these graceful creatures swimming alongside the boat and leaping through the waves.
Once you return to land, don't miss the vibrant atmosphere and entertainment at Pier 60. This bustling pier is the heart of Clearwater Beach and offers a lively experience for visitors of all ages. Enjoy street performers, local vendors, and artisans showcasing their crafts. Catch a spectacular sunset celebration with live music as the sun bids farewell to another glorious day. And if you want to escape to another dreamy seashore nearby, St. Pete Beach's
shimmering sand is only 19 miles south of Clearwater.
Sarasota - November to April
Considered the cultural heart of Florida, Sarasota
is where nature lovers, art enthusiasts, and adventurous spirits find their paradise. To make the most of your holiday in this coastal gem, the optimal time to visit is from November to April. During these spring months, it's a fantastic time to take part in the array of outdoor activities on offer during comfortably warm weather typically ranging from 26 to 28°C.
A great place to begin your cultural exploration is the iconic Ringling Museum of Art, showcasing an impressive collection of European paintings and the historic Ca' d'Zan mansion. Then you could experience the magic of performing arts at the Sarasota Opera, the Asolo Repertory Theatre, or the Sarasota Ballet. To round off your day of cultural delights, consider taking a leisurely stroll through the charming arts district of Towles Court, where local galleries exhibit a wide collection of artistic expressions.
During the month of March, music lovers visiting Sarasota can experience the soulful sounds of the annual Sarasota Jazz Festival. Prepare to be captivated by an acclaimed lineup of local and national jazz artists, delivering diverse musical experiences that cater to every taste. The festival also goes beyond musical performances, offering a variety of engaging activities, including educational workshops and enlightening film screenings.
For a shopping spree, look no further than St. Armands Circle, an elegant outdoor shopping district brimming with upscale boutiques, art galleries, and charming cafes. Discover unique treasures and one-of-a-kind souvenirs that will forever remind you of your Sarasota experience. Take your time to explore the exquisite shops, appreciate the local craftsmanship, and indulge in a leisurely coffee or ice cream as you soak up the delightful atmosphere.
Naples - November to April
Finally, discover Florida's sophisticated destination in Naples
, a coastal paradise nestled on Florida's southern Gulf Coast. If you're seeking an indulgent escape leaning towards luxury, then Naples will deliver its elegance and charm. You'll find the best weather in Naples from November to April, with a slight range between 27 to 28°C.
If you're spending a bright Christmas in Naples, then you can head down to Naples Bay to watch the festive Boat Parade. Here, you can witness dozens of boats sparkle with Christmas lights and carry the sounds of merry tunes that let the celebrations truly begin.
A haven for golf enthusiasts throughout the year, Naples also boasts an array of championship golf courses that offer world-class playing experiences. Tee off amidst lush green fairways and stunning landscapes, immersing yourself in the beauty and tranquillity of the surroundings.
What’s more, Naples is blessed with natural wonders that beckon outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Take an exhilarating airboat ride in the nearby Everglades National Park, where you can spot elusive wildlife and immerse yourself in the unique ecosystem.
For an unparalleled coastal experience, set sail on a sunset cruise along Naples Pier, witnessing the sky ablaze with hues of orange and pink as the sun dips below the horizon. Indulge in a romantic beachfront dinner or take a leisurely walk along the waterfront, savouring the serenity and beauty of the Gulf Coast.
Feeling inspired? Browse through our award-winning Florida Holiday for 2023 & 2024.